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Energy crisis: Australians are turning to renovating their homes to save on energy bills

Australians are renovating their homes to save on energy bills
Australians are renovating their homes to save on energy bills   -   Copyright  AP Photo   -  
By Roselyne Min  with AP

With ever-rising energy costs, people living south of the equator are turning to making over their homes.

Wendy Paterson lives in the Kambah suburb of the Australian capital Canberra and is renovating her house to upgrade the energy rating of her house from a one-star to a seven-star standard.

"This house was very uncomfortable as far as the energy efficiency. I was spending a great deal of money on electricity and gas bills," Paterson told the Associated Press.

Also renovating their house to cut down energy bills is Richard Ings in the city’s suburb of Watson.

"Previously, we were spending around AUD $2,700 [€1,700] a year on electricity. Around AUD $1,400 [€900] in gas. This house is 100 per cent all-electric," he told AP.

His ex-government house was renovated to make it thermally efficient, taken up from three stars to seven.

Ings is happy to save almost AUD $3,000 (€1,900) a year.

Renovation costs a fortune

Compared to 6-star residences, 7-star homes require 30 per cent less energy to heat and cool.

The scale of renovation may vary but according to sustainability manager Jessica Stewart, it does not have to cost a fortune: changing the size and place of the windows to use the sun to heat the house.

"What this does is it actually creates thermal mass in this space so when the sun shines on it, it'll actually heat up and it'll release that heat at night, and in summer because the sun doesn't shine on it, it'll actually keep this room cooler," said Jodie Pipkorn, who’s tried Steward’s method.

"So, the sun in the north comes into the house in winter and it's this concrete floor is thermal mass and soaks up that heat and it re-radiates that heat at night so even at 10 o'clock it feels like we've got floor heating," she added.

For more on this story, watch the video in the media player above.

Video editor • Roselyne Min